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Why We Loved Winter 2013/14 | Top 5 Moments of the Ski Season

clock 2nd May 2014 | comment0 Comments
Winter 13/14 has been a truly epic season, we are still buzzing from the amazing snow and fun we have had over the past 6 months, both in the UK and abroad. Here are our Top 5 highlights from this ski season 5. Winter came early By 16th November 2013 Tignes had already been blessed with a 2m snow base up top and the Pyrenees had just received 40cm of fresh snow. Thanks to the fantastic snowfall and icy temperatures, resorts in Europe started opening their slopes early in a domino fashion. Alpe d’Huez opened 3 weeks early and continued to open every weekend until the resort’s official opening on 6th December. Kitzbühel and Obergugl began opening their slopes to the public in Austria, as did Verbier in Switzerland while Courchevel had a special free taster opening on Saturday 23rd November. With huge storms in Switzerland and France in late November, keen skiers and snowboarders were able to get their snow fixes earlier than ever thought as more and more resorts opened early – was this the best start to the season ever? Beautiful conditions in Tignes on 8th Nov 2013 4. Snow Events To get us more and more excited as winter approaches, the UK presented a range of exciting ski events to attend as the months became colder. Londoners were lucky enough to take advantage of O’Neil’s Shoreditch Showdown, Ski and Snowboard Film Premieres and Iglu Ski favourite, Freeze Festival. Manchester and London played host to the Ski and Snowboard Shows which are the perfect way to find everything you need for the season. While the Snow Dome’s up and down the country gave us that snow fix before getting out to the Alps. To give our ski holiday’s added fun, an increasing amount of events are popping up across the mountains. Christmas markets and firework displays give the festive weeks an added joyous feeling while music and sports events give unique experiences to your holiday. Ibiza Rocks headed to the mountains for the first time with a series of 3 weeks of parties in Meribel bringing the hottest breakthrough live acts and daily après ski events for ‘Ibiza Rocks the Snow.’ O'Neil Shoreditch Showdown, London 3. Increase in awareness for safety on the mountain With the early snow dumps then warm conditions there was an increase in avalanches in the Alps and terrible news of accidents dominated the snow news. This has increased our awareness of off piste safety, using safety equipment and taking guided tours for off piste adventures. With the media domination of safety in snowsports, the rise in wearing helmets on the slopes is positive and Snow and Rock have seen a huge increase in helmet sales over the last 5 years. If you’re still not convinced, you must watch Kevin Pearce’s inspiring story ‘The Crash Reel’ and take a look at the Love Your Brain campaign. It is extremely important to stay safe on the mountains and minimise our risk of danger means we can carry on doing what we love for years to come. For more information on Safety in the Mountains. 2. The Winter That Keeps On Giving Even when resorts are starting to close for the season it is still dumping like its January! The heaviest snowfall has been reported in Switzerland with up to 50cm of knee deep freshies in Andermatt and Zermatt while the 3 Valleys in France and Cervina in Italy also enjoyed the best of the new snowfall. Our friends across the pond are on powder alert as they expect over 50cm this weekend in Lake Louise. Winter 2013-14 has been the season that keep on giving with some epic skiing this spring - We love spring skiing! 1. Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Sochi showcased huge exposure for the British ski industry and the world recognised the elite status of Team GB’s athletes. For a country lacking in mountains, Team GB proved we are a country to take seriously when it comes to winter sports. With an Olympic Bronze medal, five top 10 finishes, a further five top 20 and 3 in the top 30, it was the most successful Winter Games to date for British skiers and snowboarders. Both Jamie Nicholls and Billy Morgan made history by representing Great Britain in the first ever Snowboard Slopestyle Olympic Final. After stomping a huge 90.75 in the semi-finals, Billy couldn’t repeat that incredible run and placed 10th in the final while Jamie scored an amazing 85.50 finishing in 6th. Jenny Jones blew the nation away with her Bronze Medal winning run in the Ladies Snowboard Slopestyle Final and confirmed her place as the Queen of British snowboarding. Jenny won Great Britain’s first ever Olympic Snowboard Medal and became the first ever British female to win an Olympic medal on snow. Aimee Fuller was a crowd favourite after throwing a double backflip and landing 9th place in the semi-finals, and then took 17th overall. The Top 10 places continued in the Freestyle Skiing where Katie Summerhayes finished in 7th in the Ladies Ski Slopestyle Final with a solid 70.60 score. Despite James Wood’s injuries, Woodsy qualified in 3rd place with an outstanding first run scoring 87.50 which made him the first ever British athlete to go through to a Men’s Ski Slopestyle Olympic Final. In the face of the hard conditions, the skiers threw down tough competition; Woodsy scored an incredible 86.60 that gave him 5th position in the finals. The list doesn’t stop there; Team GB had a fantastic team of skiers and snowboarders participating in many specialities from Snowboard Cross to Cross Country to the Ski Halfpipe. We cannot forget the other disciplines, particularly the Team GB Curling team and Gold medal winner Elizabeth Yarnold in the Skeleton. Team GB surpassed the 3 medal target and created an unforgettable 2 weeks of winter sports and global recognition of Great Britain’s place on the Olympic mountain. Huge congratulations to all the Team GB athletes, you were all amazing and made us so proud! #backthebrits By Krystelle


Val Thorens Sensations | Club Med's Latest Resort

clock 3rd March 2014 | comment0 Comments
What’s this? Club Med is launching a new resort? Yes, Club Med are opening a brand new 4 Trident resort in the popular French ski area in Val Thorens in the 3 Vallées. The resort will be called Val Thorens Sensations and is due to open on the 14th December 2014. They’ve used crowdsourcing to help decide on certain aspects of the new build, starting a Facebook community where followers helped to make key decisions, such as whether there should be an indoor climbing wall (they voted yes!). Sensations is set to operate from November to May, promising optimal snow cover during that time due to the resort’s high altitude. Who is the new resort aimed at? The new resort will be aimed at groups of friends, singles, couples and families with teenage children. The resort is accessible to young children too (from 2 years up), however, there will no kids clubs or kids entertainment programmes running. So what makes this newbie stand out from the other Club Med resorts then? The resort will stand out from the rest due to its contemporary design, which features huge bay windows that will give guests a fantastic view of the surrounding snow-covered mountains. There are 3 sun-facing terraces and the majority of rooms promise to have breathtaking mountain views. Each of the rooms will be one of four different categories – there will be 361 Club Rooms, 12 Deluxe Rooms, 5 Junior Suites and 6 Suites. We know that Club Med is all inclusive, so what dining options will this new resort provide me with? There will be 2 onsite restaurants which will stay open from 7.30am till midnight, so whether you’re an early riser or a night owl then there will be something to suit you. One of the restaurants will provide a buffet set up and the other will be a concept restaurant, catering for the more gourmet tastes and offering a menu of local cuisine. For those dying to get out on the slopes, a self-service take-away corner will provide guests with a range of hot drinks and snacks, which can be taken out onto the slopes with them. What about the après ski? If you’re after a drink, then Sensations will have the choice of 2 bars and a packed schedule of evening entertainment. One bar will offer a more cosy and intimate setting, whereas the other will provide a more open and lively atmosphere. From 3.30pm each day, the Wine Cellar and Grocery Store will play host to a range of wine tasting sessions, after which guests can purchase goodies to take home with them. Can I hire equipment direct from the resort? Val Thorens Sensations have struck up a partnership with Rossignol and will also be supplying equipment by Lacroix and Dupraz, meaning that guests will be able to rent top quality boots, boards, skis and more. Once you’ve got your equipment sorted, you’ll also have the option to take ski and snowboard lessons, which are included in the price and aimed at all levels from beginner through to advanced. The resort is also in a ski-in ski-out position, making it super easy to get out on the slopes once you’ve got your equipment. When I’m not on the slopes, what other activities can I do? Sensations will put a special focus on health, fitness and wellbeing, offering a range of additional packages which include fitness training, nutritional advice and spa treatments. If you want a break from the slopes, or you just fancy working on your fitness a bit more, then a range of fitness classes are included in the price of your stay. Zumba, Body-Balance and Pilates are just some of the classes on offer. Alternatively, if you’re a little shy about training in a room full of others, you can choose to join in with a toning workout video, which will be available from the privacy of your room. For all those gym and weight fanatics out there, there is a fully equipped cardio and weight training zone. If you’re on the lookout for a bit more adrenaline then there is also a large 10 metre high climbing wall with 4 routes, mountain biking, sledging, snow mobiling and boardercross. If you fancy a swim, then you can head to a nearby pool, where you’ll receive free entry as a Val Thorens Sensations guest. I’m too tired for more exercise, what can I do to relax here? After a hard day on the slopes, why not relax with a Turkish Bath? All customers will have free access to the onsite Turkish Bath and will have the option to pay extra for spa treatments to wind down after an exhausting day. Spa treatments aren’t really my thing, what else can I do? If you’re still looking for more to do, then the resort will also house a tenpin bowling alley and a shopping boutique. Also on offer is a selection of ‘a la carte’ excursions, which will allow guests to pick and choose outings as they please. These will include a Baroque art guided tour, a traditional themed evening in a yurt and a snowscooter outing. What else can you tell me about Sensations? This new resort promises to be very digitally focused and wi-fi will even be available out on the slopes. High speed internet, ranging from free packages to high speed paid packages will be available in the hotel. The resort even has its own app so that users can look at the daily schedule of events, find ski buddies and share content such as images and music. In most public areas, digital screens will display information relating to daily activities and weather conditions. To top it all off, Sensations promises effective queue management to heighten guests overall experience, making it as stress free, fun and relaxed as possible.   In a nutshell   Open November – May (official opening 14th December 2014) Ski in-ski out 2 restaurants open 7.30am till midnight + take away area in ski room for those in a hurry 2 bars with a full schedule of evening entertainment Wine tasting every day Top quality equipment to rent + ski/snowboard lessons included Health, wellness and fitness packages available Onsite spa, free access to Turkish Bath & free access to nearby swimming pool Ten pin bowling Shopping boutique Excursions available Wi-fi available on the slopes     Val Thorens Facts   Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe at 2230m high 600km’s of piste Longest run: 8km 93 ski lifts, 52 draglifts, 31 chairlifts, 9 cable-cars 5 snowboard parks Easily accessed from Geneva, Lyon and Chambéry airports and Moutiers railway station It is in the 3 Vallèes ski area, which is linked with other resorts (you get access to the whole ski area) 3 Vallèes has 33 black pistes – 119 red pistes – 135 blue pistes – 48 green pistes Val Thorens has 275 runs – 101 beginner, 146 intermediate, 28 advanced  


Interview with Team GB Snowboard Star, Billy Morgan

clock 5th February 2014 | comment0 Comments
As far as the UK goes for competitive snowboarding, they don’t get much bigger than Team GB favourite Billy Morgan. He picked up his first snowboard at the age of 14 in Southampton’s Alpine centre , and shot to fame in 2011 after performing a world’s first triple rodeo flip (to you and me, a triple backflip). It’s been 2 years, 6 world cups and some costly injuries, but the young slopestyle hopeful achieved his goal of qualifying for Sochi 2014 by being in the top 30 in the world whilst meeting the UK’s quota. With favourites such as Shaun White (US) and Torstein Horgmo (Norway) out of the competition, it leaves Morgan tipped to bring back the gold for Great Britain, in an event filled with tricks and huge air. Igluski caught up with him. What kind of training is involved for freestyle snowboarding? For most of the year it’s all about getting the hours in on your board, working on different tricks, filming and having fun etc. But when the days are good it’s time to get to work. I’ll try and treat the day like a competition day, get to big tricks as fast as possible, repeat them and then the time for progression presents itself. It's then that you can start to work on putting extra things on your big tricks. Do you have a favourite ski resort? I like Breckenridge to ride and Morzine or Mayrhoffen to Party. Bucket list riding location? Alaska, Japan, Park city and Jackson Hole. You were recently injured in training, how has your training changed to get back on the board? I did have a bad fall in September at a snow dome in the UK. I fully ruptured my ACL and MCL which I thought ended my route to Sochi. But I spent two months with a good team of specialists in rehab working hard every day. I got back snowboarding in December. You recently posted back to back triples on a practice at the X-games, how did the knee feel? Ahh that was a mental day, I didn't make finals but was training in case someone dropped out as I had the reserve spot. I got my run down and my coach urged me to try it. I knew I needed to at some point so gave it a wang. The knee was absolutely fine. It’s been pretty good since Christmas, just takes a run or two to warm it up haha. What do you do to relax before competition? Straight after I’m stoked to just get down the hill and jam with my friends, it all depends on where I am. I love a bit of table tennis. What are you most looking forward to at Sochi 2014? Any other events you’re keen to watch? I’m not sure what to make of it all, I’m stoked to watch the other guys on the team compete and really want to see the figure skating down in Sochi. Mad respect for that lot. Any tricks up your sleeve you’re saving for Sochi? Sadly no, I haven't saved anything crazy. Maybe I should have. Check Out Billy Morgan's Triple Rodeo, here (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Post by Billy Morgan.


O'Neill Shoreditch Showdown

clock 27th November 2013 | comment0 Comments
Thursday 21st November was no normal day in Shoreditch, between the hip bars and the trendy hangouts, O’Neill transformed Old Street’s graffiti clad Red Market into an iconic London Street Scene that provided the ultimate backdrop for showcasing the UK’s finest skiers and snowboarders. The Shoreditch Showdown entertained a 500 heavy crowd with a night of world class riding. The 24 man open jam included best tricks on the bus stop, rails, post box and telephone box which built up to the epic head to head final. With a clean frontside 270 to switch boardslide on the rail styled out with a tap on the red post box, Sparrow Knox won over the judges and nailed that Number 1 spot for the snowboarders “I just like to ride, we were all here as mates, I totally didn’t expect to win. It was a great format and a mad set-up.” Meanwhile for freeski 17 year old Tyler Harding killed it all night and ended with a 270 on revert 270 off the rail. Stoked with his win Harding said “It’s something special to win in a place like this, completely unexpected. A great way to set up for the winter.” Both riders recieved £500 for winning each discipline. Other stand out tricks included Team GB snowboarder Jamie Trinder’s 50:50 frontflip off the London bus shelter and George Walton impressed the judges with a bolts 360 nose tap on the red phone box. Snowboarder Andy Nudds had a top night at the event “This is by far one of the best events I’ve been to, everyone has been killing it and the crowd were sick. The standard of British riding has been phenomenal tonight.” Thanks to O’Neill for putting on an amazing rail competition that definitely has been the best event in the snow calendar so far this season. O’Neill’s #RIDEMORE campaign is designed to inspire creativity and innovation. Find some different terrain, step outside the ordinary, and most importantly – be creative, then you too can #RIDEMORE. Ski Results 1st Tyler Harding 2nd Ross Welch 3rd George Walton 4th Michael Rowlands Snowboard Results 1st Sparrow Knox 2nd John Weatherly 3rd Ollie Dutton 4th Andy Nudds Who needs a mountain anyway? The Shoreditch Showdown sure proved that!   Written By Krystelle Image Credits: James North Photography


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